Google forced to pay $85m over patent infringement

SimpleAir has won $85 million in damages over patents relating to Google's Cloud Messaging (GCM) and Android Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) services.

A federal judge has ordered Google to pay damages of $85 million to SimpleAir after infringing the firm's patents through mobile device notifications.


Overseen by U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap for the Eastern District of Texas, the court case brought forward by technology licensing firm SimpleAir claimed that Google infringed SimpleAir’s U.S. Patent No. 7,035,914, which details a system and method for data communication connecting online networks computers in real-time.

The case focuses on Google Cloud Messaging and Cloud to Device Messaging. Notification messages are sent to and from smartphones and tablets running Google's Android operating system. Push notifications are used within apps including Facebook, Gmail and Twitter.

SimpleAir's claims were originally filed in 2011 against a number of firms including Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Nokia. The other firms settled, leaving Google to argue against the patent dispute alone. In January, a separate jury said that Google infringed the patent, and five claims of infringement were valid.

Within this case, limited to financial restitution only, SimpleAir sought as much as $146 million in damages. In response, Google said such claims were worth no more than $6 million, and this amount should cover past and future use of the intellectual property -- which expires in 2017. However, the jury decided that Google owes $85 million for past infringement, and future damages will be decided at later hearings.

"The jury understood that Google profits tremendously from its infringing use of our invention and we believe that is reflected in its verdict," said John Payne, who is the lead inventor and majority owner of SimpleAir. "We appreciate the jury’s service and their fairness in considering and validating a large damages claim made by such a small company against a company that is so widely known."

A Google spokesman told ZDNet that the company does not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.